We’ve all heard of Psycho right? Pretty much ground zero for horror and suspense, and unless you are like my bride and run away from Black and White movies like a 8 year old from Brussel Sprouts, this is required watching, right?
Well. I have never seen it, until now, so lets take a look see at the definitive Hitchcock thriller.
We start off a bit oddly for a black and white movie, with Janet Leigh in her bra, meeting in a hotel room with her boyfriend, some complaining about working for the Man, and her boyfriend is broke. Its a nice setup of two people in love, but sets up a decent little character, her in love and he can’t afford to marry her. Leigh busts out and heads to work, where we get a lecherous old dude who hits on Leigh, and waves 40K around the room. He does drop a bit of advice that you can buy off unhappiness. You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy off unhappiness. Leigh is charged with taking the 40K to the bank and then Monday they can make it a check. Leigh has a nice job, she’s at work for a good 10 minutes and then basically a three-day weekend. She goes home, packs and heads out. After a run-in with a very creepy cop, Hitchcock again gives us a shot of Leigh in a bra- black one this time. Are we sure we are in 1960? Leigh goes in and takes the fateful shower. Let me state something here, yes the Shower Scene is AMAZING, but in my mind the followup, with Janet Leigh on the floor, and the rising shot coming from her eye and drawing back is also perfect. The rest of the movie is the discovery of the murder and what the Bates Motel is.
So how is Psycho?
Let me be upfront, I didn’t expect this. We all knew that the star dies early, and the rest of the movie on Anthony Perkins downfall leading to his mother. That’s not a spoiler, right? We all know about all that. The amazing thing is how the movie changes its direction and pace throughout. I’m gonna save more thoughts after the spoiler warning, but even if you have seen the Bosco chocolate syrup going down the drain a thousand times- and I have – how its framed, when it comes in the movie and the aftermath of the act is, to me, the reason why Psycho still stands above the rest of the slow burn classic thrillers. Possibly the best known scene in cinema history is the shower scene, and it is amazing. It took 6 days to shoot, features 77 different camera angles and includes 50 cuts, all for less than 3 minutes of screen time. The amazing thing is how Alfred Hitchcock frames everything, and watch how much he uses shadow in the beginning and light at the end. I’m never much for reading too much into whats there, outside of what’s on the screen, but its in your face without using the SLEDGEHAMMER OF PLOT to get the point across.
This is a perfect 10 movie. If this movie is not in your DVD collection, it is incomplete. I look forward to picking this one up when fiances allow, and to be honest, I’ll be getting the collection that has all the Psychos on it. Final note, the acting here is stunning. Everyone is on point.
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